Saturday, December 7, 2013

Florence and Pisa (Port of Livorno) Italy

For the 13Night, 18 Nov 2013 sailing on the Celebrity Silhouette from Rome, our first port of call was Livorno.  The next port of call would be Corfu, Greece.

The Captain docked on time.  It was 7:20am and we were almost ready to depart for our day trip via private excursion!

For this trip, I found the iPhone App called CityMaps2Go very useful.  The cost of the App is marginal and the App doesn't require a data connection.  It uses the iPhone GPS to determine your exact location. However, you must remember to download the maps prior to your trip, you wouldn't want to be paying for expensive data charges while overseas.  Take note that this App drains my iPhone5S's battery very quickly.  My fully charged phone can't last the whole day during the shore excursion and I have to bring my portable power supply.

Getting off the ship was very smooth.  For this cruise, the ship didn't feel crowded at all.  Sometimes I wondered whether we were sailing full, but Guest Relations said yes.

Our driver (Tuscany by Taxi) met us once we got off the ship.  Very easy.

Our first stop, after a 60 minutes drive (Port to Florence was far!) was a viewing point.  From here, we could see Florence.  This was just a short photo-stop.  Good to stretch the legs after 1 hour in the mini-van!

Gorgeous view.  Wonder what mountain is that in the background.

You can clearly see the Cathedral - Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

This was the centre of the Florence historic city centre.  This is a UNESCO Heritage site.  Very clearly so!

That is the Cathedral.  The marble was beautiful.

Walking to here from the city centre was quick.

Beautiful entrance.  We were told that during summer there would be long lines to get in.

Looking up at the beautiful dome.  It was awe-inspiring!

I actually liked this better than the Sistine Chapel.

Entrance to the Bell Tower costs 10Euros.  There were 414 steps.  We didn't climb up that morning.

Thereafter, we headed to a flea market nearby.  Many stores selling leather goods.

I don't think their business was very good during low season.  But millions come here during the high season, so they won't be doing too badly.  Overall, the leather goods prices are fairly reasonable, and you can bargain as the competition is very, very stiff.

We stopped at a shop in a market selling Olive oils.  Very interesting.  Bought a couple.

Had a break at a McDonald's at the Florence train station.  The only reason I knew how to get here was to use the CityMaps2Go.  Euro 1.50 for a Cafe Latte.

Went walking after the coffee break. (Kids had nuggets and fries!)

This was the famous Uffizi gallery/museum.
Very famous, but we didn't go this time round.  Kids were too young to appreciate this.
Always a next time!

Ponte Vecchio - The bridge was near the museum.  Worth to take some photos.

The Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge"),  is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers

Walking the shopping areas near the historic centre.  Wife did some shopping.  She loved the Kiko Cosmetics shop.

This place must be packed during summer.

Pisa was located about 30 minutes away from the Port of Livorno.  As per the driver's recommendation, we decided to do Florence first (60 minute drive) then Pisa on the way back to the ship.  By the time we got to Pisa, it was close to 3pm.

The leaning tower in the bright sunlight.  They have done a lot of restoration work to the Tower over the past 200 hundred years to keep it this way, otherwise, it would have collapsed a long, long time ago.

A short video clip of the Leaning Tower.

Thankfully, the sun had come out.  It made the scenery much more beautiful.

This picture gives you a very good idea how much the Tower is leaning.

The gates into the Tower.  The carvings were very intricate.

Top of the tower.  You can see some tourists up there.  They only allow 40 people to climb the tower at one time.  We did not climb up that day.

This was the drive on the way back to the Livorno port.

Our driver for the day, from Tuscany by Taxi.  This company provided a taxi service and the driver's job was just to drive us from point to point.  The driver was not a guide, though this chap spoke decent English and he could tell us some interesting facts and stories about Florence and Pisa.  Overall, it was a comfortable ride.

The sun was setting and it was time to get back on the ship!

Enjoying hot chocolate before boarding.

The next port of call would be Corfu, Greece.

Swiss Flight Links
a) Singapore to Rome (via Zurich) Economy Class, Nov 2013
b) Rome to Singapore (via Zurich) Economy Class, Dec 2013

Cruise Links

Thank you for reading!


  1. Great blog, nice pics, i like your blog, visit again soon.!!

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